The Famous Poem by De'bal
He said: Abu Ubaidullah Muhammad b. Imran al-Marzbani reported to me from Abdullah b. Yahya al-Askari, who reported from Ahmad b. Zayd b. Ahmad, who reported from Muhammad b. Yahya b. Aktham Abu Abdillah, who reported from his father Yahya b. Aktham al-Maruzi, who said: Ma'moon summoned Débal b. Ali Al-Khizai, may Allah bless him with mercy, and granted him safe conduct. When he arrived, I was sitting near al-Ma'moon. He said:
"(O Débal), recite to me your major poem." Débal felt restrained and at first, displayed his ignorance about it. Then Ma'moon told him: "You will be safe, the same way as you were granted safe conduct." So he recited:
"My wife regretted when she saw my indifference to women,
And considered my maturity a sin unpardonable!
She expected youthfulness after her own forelocks had turned hoary,
and though her racing horse had already run a round of old age.
O wife, my hoary head teaches me,
to remember the Resurrection, and to submit to destiny!
Had I been inclined towards the world and its décor,
then would I have wept over some of the people gone by.
The world has attacked my family members and ruined them,
causing a cleavage like the one hit with a stone.
Some stood against it, while some responded to
the call of death and the remaining are on the wake.
So those who have remained, I fear their departure,
of course, the return of those who have turned away is not awaited.
Now, it has so become that I am given the news about
my family and my children,
like a dreamer relating a dream after remembering it.
Had it not been that my eyes are preoccupied with
the (grief of) kinsfolk of the Prophet of Allah, who have gone,
I would not have stayed.
(And as you know) Your cheeks have an occupation
(of crying) in respect of your friends,
preventing it from sleeping because of the lost ones.
How many of their arms lie in Kerbala, cut off from the body,
and how many soiled cheeks lie on the dusty plain.
They go to where al-Husain was slain, in the eve and at night
and they say: 'This is the master of all men.'
O ungrateful Ummah! You have not rewarded Ahmad
(peace be upon him and his progeny)
for his heroic struggle in the name of the revealed
verses and chapters (of the Qur'an).
When he left the world, you as survivors treated
his children, the way a wolf does to save Dhu Baqr."
Yahya said: Then al-Ma'moon ordered me to go out to complete his work, I rose. When I returned, Débal was completing his poem with following verses:
"There is no one remaining among the living who we know
from the tribes of Yaman, Bakr or Mudhar,
except that they have a hand in their blood.
As did the people of Aysar who participated in the massacre,
By killing, imprisoning, frightening and by plunder,
the way soldiers acted in the lands of Byzantine and Khazar;
I find the Umayyad excused if they killed,
but I do not see for Banu Abbas any justifiable excuse!
A band of people who they killed first in the name of Islam,
till when they seized power, then they allowed it
branding them as infidels; (they were)
The sons of Harb, Marwan and their families,
the sons of Muit, the rulers of rancour and spite;
Pause and see the grave of the pure one at Tus,
look at it if you have anything to do with faith!
Alas! Every one is mortgaged to which his
two hands do, so take what you wish or leave it."
He said: (Upon hearing this) al-Ma'moon threw his turban on the ground and said: "By Allah! O Débal, you have spoken the truth."
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